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Is there a statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims?

Whether you live here in Maryland or elsewhere in the United States, chances are you have the same expectations we all have when it comes to the standard of care a person should receive at a hospital or health care facility. Most people expect a facility to be clean and safe. They expect the hospital staff to be well trained and highly knowledgeable. And above all else, we expect we will receive the best care possible regardless of our injury or illness.

Unfortunately, as some of our Upper Marlboro readers may know, this doesn't always happen. Mistakes can be made or staff may be negligent. In the end, its patients and their families who pay the ultimate price because medical mistakes and negligence oftentimes lead to injury and in some cases even death.

It's for this reason that we're asking the question above: is there a statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims? As you have probably heard said at one time or another, it's best if a person receives legal counsel quickly after a medical mistake. This is because in Maryland, we have a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. This means that there is a specific time limit in which a victim can file a claim for compensation. After this time has expired, a victim cannot file a claim and seek damages.

So what is the statute of limitations on these claims? In our state, the time line is within five years from the day the mistake occurred or three years after the mistake was discovered. When taking a timeline into consideration, judges will always take whichever time is shorter.

It's important to point out that filing a medical malpractice claim may not be intuitive to a majority of people. These claims take a certain understanding of the law that most people don't have, which is why talking to a lawyer is not only a good idea but potentially necessary in certain cases.

Source: Statelaws.findlaw.com, "Maryland Civil Statute of Limitations Laws," Accessed Aug. 4, 2015

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